Lacing up the tattered laces on my Asics, my old friends looked at me like a pair of puppies happy to get out of the house. We have been through a lot together over the past year or so, including the joy and pain of Ironman last August. Blowing the dust off of the running gear, it was a perfect Friday for my favorite route.
Springing to life, my footsteps picked up the cadence of the new Toby Mac beat ringing in my headphones. The warm sun embraced me and the ocean breeze filled my lungs with life. Cresting the ridge of Hill Street, the Pacific Ocean was laid out in front of me kissing the sky. Ridges of perfect waves rolled towards the cliffs, connecting with surfers as they hollered in joy.
I passed a group of people staring at the changing blue tide. I wondered if their shadows on the ground were just as inspired by the living artwork as they were.
I passed a mother and a small child. The little girl was running towards a guard-rail with both hands toward the sky attempting to embrace the oceanic beauty before her. The mother was smiling at her daughter and gave me a glance. I wondered what scene was more beautiful? The ocean, the daughter, or the mother’s visible love for her child?
My footsteps propelled me forward as I passed two parents taking a photo of their young son against the backdrop of the water. His army uniform was neatly pressed and his smile was full of wonder. I caught a glimpse of fear in his eyes. I prayed that this picture would not show up on the news someday. “Lord bring him back safely”
I ran past a wedding and looked at the bride and groom hold hands while standing on the sandstone rocks. White little chairs stacked neatly on the tilted rock as the crashing waves temporarily drowned out the preacher’s words. Would they remember this day forever, or be meddled in hardship down the road? “Bless their marriage Lord.”
I ran further down the rocks and saw a teenage girl take a huge inhale off a pipe. Her friends laughed as she choked on the weed’s toxins. I wondered if she used to be the little girl running towards the ocean while her mother smiled at her. The sadness in her eyes was overwhelming, and I looked back at the white spray. “Lord, help save our youth”
I passed by a group of drifters in their mid-twenties dressed in rags. Drinking out of paper bags they argued with each other. Under the Ocean Beach pier, the distraction of anger blasted the view that laid before them to the West. Are we so jaded that life has come to this?
Passing under a bridge towards home, I surveyed the sleeping bags laid on the rocks which created a homeless shanty town of hopelessness and pain. Empty 40 bottles were stacked neatly in a pile as the ceremonial idols of this village. Would the drifters on the beach eventually have this fate and permanently wear the frowns of the homeless while living in paradise?
And then I realized the beauty of it all. This was Good Friday. The Friday the world grew dark so we could be connected with the light. The day the greatest pain of all was felt so we could experience freedom. He is here calling us. As the ocean reflects His beauty, the crashing waves whisper his name. Our beating hearts call out to him in musical tones. He has given us a gift worth sharing with the world. To the young, the old, the married and the homeless: Take a second to step back and breathe in the hope. This run may just change your life.
Isaiah 40:28-31 (New International Version)
Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.